Wednesday, September 9, 2015

EXCERPT WEEK -- Unfinished Muse

Posted by: R.L. Naquin
I was tempted to give you a peek at the book I'm currently working on but, since it's the second book in the series (and hasn't been edited, yet), it might be a little spoilery. So, instead, I have an only slightly spoilery excerpt from the first book in the Mt. Olympus Employment Agency series in a scene between our heroine, Wynter, and her houseplant, Phyllis, after Wynter ducked out on a date that was going a little too well for her comfort.

Wynter Greene is a chronic quitter—in work, in life, and in love. When she quits a job, a boyfriend, and a seemingly minor craft project all in one day, the dormant deity blood in her veins triggers a Welcome Package from the gods. A talking—and singing—houseplant named Phyllis bullies Wynter into taking a job at the Mt. Olympus Employment Agency.

Stuck with a job in the Muse department, Wynter discovers that helping others finish what they start isn’t easy, especially for someone who can’t seem to finish anything of her own. And how is Wynter supposed to focus on anything when that guy from the Dreams and Nightmares department keeps distracting her with his rippling muscles and magnetic stare?

Wynter needs to figure her job out soon. Each failure is a tick mark on her record, and if she continues to miss her deadlines, she’ll be reassigned to the Underworld as a dog walker.

And scooping poop for a giant three-headed dog is nobody’s ideal career.

All the way home in my car, I mentally and verbally beat myself up. “Stupid, stupid, stupid. He’s awesome. He’s gorgeous. He anticipates your needs.” I pulled into my parking space and glared at myself in the rearview mirror. “Get. A. Grip.”

When I burst through the door, I slammed it behind myself, and threw my purse on the counter.

Phyllis sounded startled. “Wynter? What on Earth is wrong, sweetheart? You nearly scared the leaves off me.” She wasn’t exaggerating. Several dry leaves had fluttered into the sink below the windowsill.

“I’m sorry.” I gathered the leaves and tossed them in the trash, then poked a finger at her dirt. “Are you thirsty? You’re a little dry.”

“I could use a drink. Thank you. But first tell me what happened.”

I ran the faucet and adjusted it until it was the lukewarm temperature Phyllis preferred. “I’m an idiot. I’m broken. You can’t fix me.”

“Oh, honey. It can’t be that bad. Did something happen at work?”

I shook my head and trickled water into her dirt. “I didn’t go to work. I went on a picnic with a gorgeous guy. Then I freaked out and made him take me home because he’s too perfect and I’m not.” I shut off the water and burst into tears, still holding the potted plant.

“Oh, Wynter, no. Don’t be silly.” A leafy branch stroked the back of my hand. “Nobody’s perfect. Any man would be lucky to spend time with you.” 

Her words and tone, combined with the surprisingly soft leaves stroking my hand calmed me. I wiped away my tears. “You think so?”

She patted my hand. “I know so.” The soothing branch pulled back and whacked me where it had been petting me a second before.


“I cannot believe you spent the day with a boy instead of going to work. Are you trying to end up in the Underworld?”

I set her in the sink to drain, then rubbed the welt rising on my skin. “I’ve got it under control. It’s only the first week, and two of my clients are well on their way.”

If she’d had eyes, I wouldn’t have been able to meet them. As it was, I looked away. She was sure to read the guilt on my face. I felt terrible enough already.

She tutted and shook her leaves. “Two. Two are on their way.” One of her branches wagged in the direction of the window. “And what about poor Mark out there? He’s running out of time. So what if you figured out he’s trying to design a playground? Knowing what it’s supposed to be isn’t even halfway there. The poor boy needs an idea, Wynter.”

I was getting lectured by a houseplant. And I was dangerously close to bursting into tears again because she was absolutely right. “I tried. He won’t listen to me.”

Her voice grew quiet. “Then you must make him listen. Not because it’s your job and you don’t want to fail. You must do it because you are a Muse, and he needs you. Without you, he will fail.”

Unfinished Muse is available in digital and paperback. Amazon B&N Kobo iBooks

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